This story originally appeared on XOJane.com.
When my fiancé first popped the question, he did so with a white gold band. It wasn’t fancy but it got the job done and I was OK with that.
The white gold band was purchased with the only cash my fiancé had on him. He wanted it to be a surprise during out cross-country road trip and I was handling all of our expenses. The whole thing felt very romantic to me, especially the proposal, but I’ll spare you the details.
Being that we were on a road trip, we were miles away from our friends and family. We called our closest loved ones, then changed our Facebook statues because duh. The flood of “Let me see the ring” texts and comments on social media were overwhelming.
Why did everyone need to see my ring? It wasn’t that I was embarrassed but I knew that everyone was asking because they wanted to see a rock and I had no rock to show. My ring was a white gold band that fit my middle finger on my right hand and I was ecstatic about it.
I did give in and text a few of my closet girlfriends pictures of the ring. Their responses were sweet (Oh, I love white gold!) but I knew that gossip was probably beginning behind my back.
After returning from our road trip, my fiancé told me to pick out whatever ring I wanted. I had always dreamed of a pearl engagement ring but I was a bit deterred by the selection of pearl rings. They are all more or less designed with the pearl in the center of the ring with diamonds surrounding it so the ring looks like a flower with the pearl as the bud. I was looking for something different.
While still shopping for my dream ring, I wore my white gold band on my right middle finger because that’s the finger it fit. This, I learned, was shocking. People didn’t believe that I was engaged. I was constantly asked where my ring was.
Women would react with a quickly hidden frown, then gush about how romantic the proposal was. Men reacted with a smug smile, thinking the marriage would never happen and that this band was given to appease me.
In one case, I actually had a male co-worker tell me that no one knows I’m engaged because I don’t wear my ring on the "right" finger. He looked perplexed when I explained that the only two people in the world who needed to know I was engaged knew: my fiancé and me.
I finally found my dream ring on Etsy. It's a vintage ring from the 1920s that was fabulously art deco and not made to look like a flower. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was my ring. Lucky me, it wasn’t even all that expensive.
After ordering it, having it appraised, cleaned and sized, I was ready to take this bad boy out on the town and by that I mean, show my friends. I was prepared for everyone to love my ring as much as I did. That was something I shouldn’t have planned on, considering the ring wasn’t a huge diamond.
My girlfriends couldn’t even fake the enthusiasm that I had for their diamond rings. They couldn’t fathom that this pearl was what I wanted. I was disappointed for a few moments before remembering that it’s my ring and I don’t need the validation from anyone.
Despite how much society has recently advanced in its view of marriage, it seems that women and men alike still only consider a true engagement ring to be a pretty little diamond sitting on your pretty little ring finger.
To all the women out there who are considering something other than a diamond for an engagement ring, be it a sapphire, pearl, onyx, no gem at all or no ring at all, just be prepared ahead of time for the possibility that you will be the only one who is happy about it. Luckily, in this scenario, you're the only one who matters.